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Community Renewal Good Stories - Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Story: Targeted Marketing Works

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, RC

During the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, Philadelphia was known as the "workshop of the world." Home to Baldwin Locomotive, Stetson Hats, Disston Saws, and many other industrial firms, Philadelphia truly was the industrial heartland of the country. Unfortunately, during the past 60 years, Philadelphia has suffered a steady erosion of manufacturing jobs and the shuttering of many of the factories that housed them.

The Philadelphia RC encompasses much of the old industrial heart of the city. The Philadelphia RC office recognized early that it needed to market benefits in key areas where industry sectors still flourished or where new sectors were rising from the ashes of the old. Staff developed a targeted marketing strategy that included Allegheny West and East Falls and large adjacent communities in North Philadelphia with still-viable commercial and industrial corridors. These two areas also have potential resources that can leverage RC benefits: a large number of Keystone Opportunity Zones, which are free from most State and local taxes; active community-based organizations; and municipal support.

These additional resources greatly expand the financial and organizational tools that, when coupled with RC benefits, have made good deals better and marginal deals possible. Below are just a few of many Philadelphia RC success stories.

Sherman Properties/Mills II is engaged in a long-term project to rehabilitate the former Dobson Mills in East Falls into a 250,000- square-foot mixed-use development. The Mills II received a $784,375 CRD allocation in 2002.

Hackman Dental Labs is a cutting edge, full-service dental laboratory that needed to relocate from downtown Philadelphia. The laboratory was courted intensely by office parks outside the city but eventually purchased a long vacant and dilapidated building two blocks north from the Mills II.

Co-owner Bobbi Quinn said, "The CRD benefit allowed us to renovate the building, meet our bottom line, and was the final piece of the puzzle for us." Hackman Labs received a CRD award of $214,500 and is on target to hire three RC residents to fill out its expanding workforce.

S. Zitner's Co. makes a wide range of chocolate candies. Chris Murphy, Zitner's owner, hires mostly people who live near the plant and walk to work. Murphy states, "The RC wage credit is perfect. We have many seasonal workers, both men and women, and we're able to claim a large number of them. Over the past 2 years we've been able to claim more than $100,000 in RC wage credits."

For more information on the programs of the Philadelphia RC, please contact RC Senior Manager, Jim Flaherty at (215) 683-2126.